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Sinn 103 Ti DIAPAL

By Robert-Jan Broer for Watchuseek​


One of our favourite German watch brands is Sinn Spezialuhren, located in Germany. In just a few days from now, they will be celebrating their 50th anniversary. We reported about their 50 years of history earlier this year, and you can read it by clicking here.


Just in time for their celebration, we want to take a closer look at their classic pilot chronograph watches, model 103. Sinn introduced the Sinn 103 Ti DIAPAL, as being the classic pilot's chronograph with new technologies. We know that you - being a fan of Sinn watches - are fond of their clever inventions to solve all kinds of technical issues that watch makers had to deal with for centuries.

Although we know that you probably could deal with a summary of specifications only, we'd like to take it step-by-step and give this watch a proper review.


Let's start with the packaging; it is a simple black carton box with a leather box inside, containing the watch. Furthermore, we find the instruction manual and warranty papers inside the box. The warranty card is in English and German language and is a credit card size document stating the model name/number, serial number, point of sale and date. The instruction manual is also in German and English counts 33 pages of instruction for each language covers all 103 models. Besides operation instructions, it lists all specifications of the watch.


The simple leather box and manual suits a tool watch like the Sinn 103 Ti DIAPAL, no exaggeration on the packaging. Just the necessities.

Sinn's model 103 comes in many variations, but this Ti DIAPAL seems to have all Sinn technologies embedded. This 41mm chronograph has the lubricant-free escapement called 'DIAPAL', a captive bezel, an Ar-Dehumidifying technology to prevent fogging and a temperature resistance from -45 degrees Celsius to +80 degrees Celsius. Furthermore, Sinn tends to follow a number of DIN standards to secure the watch against shocks (DIN8308), magnetism (DIN8309) and from water entering the watch case (DIN8310).

This way, Sinn is able to give a 5 years warranty on these watches. The DIAPAL technology is probably the most innovative and expensive technology used for this 103 Ti DIAPAL. It means that the escapement is free of lubricants and instead, is using diamond pallets instead of rubies. The engineers at Sinn found out that a polished diamond surface results in less friction than the traditional use of the ruby.

Using all these Sinn technologies in the model 103 Ti DIAPAL, it's also the most expensive 103 version of their collection. Today's price in The Netherlands is 2590,- Euro (including 19% VAT), but will be increased to 2640 Euro (including 19% VAT) starting September 1st, 2011. Just for comparison purposes, the 103 St SA is 1540,- Euro (including 19% VAT).


Sinn mentions the use of the Ar and DIAPAL technology on the dial of the 103. Otherwise, the dial is very clean and legible, even in the dark. The baton hands, all seven of them, are white and are painted with a luminous material. The charcoal grey electroplated dial matches the titanium case perfectly and as you can see on our example, also matches the brown calf strap with alligator print and white stitching. The tang buckle is also made out of titanium and bears the Sinn logo. Of course, this watch is also available on a titanium Sinn bracelet.

A sapphire crystal can be found on the front and backside of the watch, using an anti-reflective coating on both sides (except for the transparent case back, which is only coated on the inside).


Since we have come to discuss the backside of the watch, let's have a look at the movement Sinn used in the 103. Sinn used the ETA/Valjoux 7750 GMT movement for these pilot chronographs. This is a thoroughly tested and proven movement during the last few decades. Nothing fancy, but a working horse we also can find in a lot of other watches from various watch brands. This movement has only one direction of winding, making the rotor spin freely in the opposite direction. This results in the famous 'wobble' that comes with these Valjoux 7750 movements.


As you can see, the movement in this watch has a nice looking finish; stippling, striping and blued screws. Nothing really special, but certainly fun to watch.

If we look at the 103 watchcase from the side, you will notice the drying capsule that is visible in the lug on the lower left side of the watch. The Ar-Dehumidifying Technology consists of three elements, a drying capsule, EDR seals and a protective gas filling. In short, the capsule absorbs moisture from the air inside the watch and will turn into a dark colour or shade during its absorption. The 103 will continue to work flawlessly, so you don't have to panic when the colour of the capsule changes over time.


Operating the 103 is a piece of cake. The screw-down crown is used to set the time, date and second time zone. The crown position to set the date is the same position to set the second timezone, you only need to turn the crown counter clockwise to do so. The pushers are used to start, stop and reset the chronograph hands.


The Sinn 103 Ti DIAPAL is a versatile timepiece, especially with the leather strap we received it on. It will suit your weekend or casual clothes, as well as your business attire. The size (41mm) is very modest and easy to tuck away under your cuffs.

Although this specific 103 is the most expensive out of the range, it is definitely a good value watch. Compared to other brands, you'll get a watch packed with high-tech solutions for real problems (is a tourbillon or minute repeater solving a real problem, one could ask ☺).

However, if you are a fashion victim or think it is important to wear a watch of a brand that's familiar with the large public, than better think twice. Sinn is a brand that has a large group of followers, but as Sinn only works with agents and has no marketing aspirations like the big brands; your colleagues, friends and family probably don't know what you are wearing on your wrist. Some people like it that way of course.


Thanks to the only official Sinn agent in The Netherlands, we were able to get our hands on this watch for a review.

(c) Watchuseek 2011
 

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Re: Wus Feature: Sinn 103 Ti DIAPAL

It goes without saying, it is a fantastic watch, for an even more fantastic price, but I LOVE YOUR SHOES.
Please PM me who makes them!
 

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Re: Wus Feature: Sinn 103 Ti DIAPAL

It goes without saying, it is a fantastic watch, for an even more fantastic price, but I LOVE YOUR SHOES.
Please PM me who makes them!
I think I have those shoes - they are a little out of focus, but they look like the Santoni's I have. I bought them last year at a great deal (Santoni's can be $800+) at a boutique in Toronto that is unfortunately now closed - they always had stuff that is impossible to find. Apparently Santoni does not have a single AD in all of North America, which is silly. So, it may be my first, AND last pair. Which is a shame, as they are really well made and comfy.
 

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Re: Wus Feature: Sinn 103 Ti DIAPAL

I think I have those shoes - they are a little out of focus, but they look like the Santoni's I have. I bought them last year at a great deal (Santoni's can be $800+) at a boutique in Toronto that is unfortunately now closed - they always had stuff that is impossible to find. Apparently Santoni does not have a single AD in all of North America, which is silly. So, it may be my first, AND last pair. Which is a shame, as they are really well made and comfy.
Correct :) Ever since I bought my first pair in 2005, I keep buying them (knowing that in the meanwhile, I could have bought a very decent watch of the total amount of money I spent on them). Like you said, they are very comfortable and are of an amazing quality. Just come over to Europe and get a pair :)

If you like the Santoni shoes, you might like this article as well :) Click here.
 

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Re: Wus Feature: Sinn 103 Ti DIAPAL

Sweet. I'll be back in Germany for business late this year/early next, and I certainly intend on leaving with more shoes than I arrived with. I've had girlfirends that were jealous of my shoe closet; that may not be the manliest thing in the world to say, but I can spot a cheap pair of oxfords from a 100 yards (like many of us here can do with watches), and I'll never be that guy.
 

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Re: Wus Feature: Sinn 103 Ti DIAPAL

I have to admit that I am not a fan of most chronographs other than the Omega Speedmaster, but that is a great looking watch. :-!
 

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Re: Wus Feature: Sinn 103 Ti DIAPAL

Correct :) Ever since I bought my first pair in 2005, I keep buying them (knowing that in the meanwhile, I could have bought a very decent watch of the total amount of money I spent on them). Like you said, they are very comfortable and are of an amazing quality. Just come over to Europe and get a pair :)

If you like the Santoni shoes, you might like this article as well :) Click here.
Thanks for this OT break of the thread! I ave a friend that is in th fashion business, and he an source everything!

Again, many thanks, those are very beautiful shoes! ( I think even a man can enjoy nice shoes and clothes!)
 

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Re: Wus Feature: Sinn 103 Ti DIAPAL

Great review and fantastic pictures! I just snatched up the last St version DIAPAL the US AD had in stock before the price increase. It should be here tomorrow and I can barely wait especially after seeing your beautiful photos. :D Thanks for sharing!
 

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Re: shoes

The Sinn 103 Diapal looks good.

Shoes?
Footwear Shoe Boot Hiking boot Steel-toe boot


In my narrow selection this is a shoe. It is sturdy, doesn't cause me pain,
and has done a good job protecting my feet. This pair has a lot of miles
on it. I can't say how long they last, as these are still going. They are
suitable for most occasions. Though if she insists on dancing at a wedding
keep your shoes close to the floor and away from her feet. The shoes aren't
cheap, but also not expensive. These were built in Red Wing, Minnesota.
They are in character with a tool watch like the Sinn. Try 'em.

Thanks,
rationaltime
 

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Re: shoes

Hi Norm,

Those look like the Herman Survivors I wore through my time with the Royal Rangers. Tough as nails like a Sinn EZM series. See how I too managed to tie in watches. ;-)

BTW RJ, Sinn doesn't actually use diamond pallet stones, although they did during the development of DIAPAL technology. They now use a PVD applied Diamond Like Carbon coating. Very hard, smooth and lube free. I believe this process was developed in cooperation with Horst Wolf (childhood friend of L. Schmidt) from the Wolf Gruppe in Rheinland Pfalz. You can read about his company here.
 

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Re: shoes

OT: I own a pair of RedWings too. Bought them in -79 after I destryed the boots I was issued. 3 re-soles (Vibram) later they still carry me around the Nature!
But mine are a orange-brown colour.

Sinn: The tidbit was interesting, Bo! Is all of the part DLC'd, or lust the pallett stones? Sinn should have more photos on their site.
 

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Sinn: The tidbit was interesting, Bo! Is all of the part DLC'd, or lust the pallett stones? Sinn should have more photos on their site.
I've seen cases (U1000S), bracelets, pallet forks, and small gears on the cooling racks at Wolf Gruppe. I can only speculate they all went to Sinn.
 

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Thanks Jan for the review.
It's funny: the first thing I noticed where your shoes as well...
Having lived in Frankfurt for a couple of years myself, Sinn has always been a favorite of mine. Probably one of best and serious "bang for the buck" brands around. Once you look at all the details and Sinn specialities you realize how "fair" their pricing seems especially compared to other brands around (no names here...).
I've personally had a lot of great experiences with one of the first U2s which I bought "on location" during one of the PDays some years back. It's still going strong and has never had an issue. And it even looks brand new which is amazing. My wife's 356 Flieger with cobber dial also stays attractive and seems to pull many more positive responses than her Panerai... ;-)
Cheers,
meislergeisler
 

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Re: shoes

They now use a PVD applied Diamond Like Carbon coating. Very hard, smooth and lube free. I believe this process was developed in cooperation with Horst Wolf (childhood friend of L. Schmidt) from the Wolf Gruppe in Rheinland Pfalz. You can read about his company here.
Interesting to read what things Wolf Gruppe is involved with, technology marches on.
 

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Re: shoes

Great watch! The case looks might familiar. Oh yeah, I'm wearing the destro-no-sub-dial version on my wrist :). Nice shoes also! Wish Santonis came with EEE widths... Congrats and wear it in good health!
 

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The DIAPAL technology is probably the most innovative and expensive technology used for this 103 Ti DIAPAL. It means that the escapement is free of lubricants and instead, is using diamond pallets instead of rubies. The engineers at Sinn found out that a polished diamond surface results in less friction than the traditional use of the ruby.
Actually, the pallet jewels in these watches are not made of diamonds, but are standard synthetic "ruby" jewels. If you read the description of the Diapal technology on the Watchbuys site, you see that the diamond pallet jewels were the original idea, but that was dropped in favour of coating technologies:

"Sinn's early analysis to this problem provided a quick solution (at least in theory) - if you don't use oil, it can't age. The process began by exchanging the ruby escapements for diamonds (the word "DIAPAL" derives from the German name for diamond escapements, "Diamantpaletten") in order to achieve the desired effect. The designation stuck, even though today Sinn works with solutions taken from advanced nanotechnology rather than diamonds."

Here is a photo of the pallet fork in a 756 with Diapal, and you can clearly see the fork uses ruby jewels:



The escape wheel has the coating on it, so this provides the lubrication free escapement - note that the wheel is darker in colour and has a very different finish to the typical polished steel escape wheels:



Cheers, Al
 
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